The majority of people who answered a Facebook poll believe the U.S. president should not be allowed to give a nationwide address to schoolchildren without parental consent. Maybe they misunderstood the question? Surely people who purport to distrust "socialism" do not favor silencing the elected leader of our democratic government? A president certainly does not normally require permission to publicly address its minor citizens.
Though I respect the choice of those who home-school their children, most parents in this country send children to school expecting to expose them to a full range of ideas and concepts. They tacitly
agree to share responsibility to filter, direct and enrich that flow of information with schools and educators, who set the curricula. They do not expect to review every lesson plan and textbook. At least as much respect for authority would seem in order for the leader of the free world. (Although, if it's the content they're worried about, they can read the address
ahead of time and prepare their little ones.)
Perhaps protesters worry their sons and daughters will be the tender targets of unfiltered political proselytizing? I was a child during the Eisenhower administration, so as a schoolchild, my concept of the president was a kindly old grandfather. Everybody liked Ike. Today's students experience the democratic process in a more contentious environment, so maybe the worried parents want to protect them from the roar of dissension. If it is any comfort to their parents, I expect many in the president's underage audience will be secretly studying their new classrooms, teachers and fellow students while the man behind the seal goes on about responsibility. Some will wonder whether Sasha and Malia had to watch their dad practice this speech.
My dear colleague Emily believes people object to the president's "dictatorial style,
" but Emily and I often see things differently. Even those who question the wisdom of his rhetoric must agree their offspring could pick up tips on public speaking from the gifted orator.
So what is really bothering all those people who object to his speech? Could it possibly be that so many people want to censor Barack Hussein Obama for the simple reason they do not want a black man to speak directly to their children?